Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

CD 1 - 67:08

1 Leopold Stokowski discusses Schoenberg's Gurrelieder 4:43
Sylvan Levin, piano
Camden, Victor Church Studio No. 30, April 1932
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
2-13 Gurrelieder (Part 1) 67:08
Text: Jens Peter Jacobsen, trans. Robert Franz Arnold
2 I Orchestervorspiel 7:48
3 II "Nun dämpft die Dämm'rung" — Waldemar 4:41
4 III "O, wenn des Mondes strahlen" — Tove 3:22
5 IV "Roß! Mein Roß!" — Waldemar 2:27
6 V "Sterne jubeln" — Tove 2:28
7 VI "So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht" — Waldemar 2:39
8 VII "Nun sag ich dir zum ersten Mal" — Tove 3:55
9 VIII "Es ist Mitternachtzeit" — Waldemar 7:02
10 IX "Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick" — Tove 6:15
11 X "Du wunderliche Tove!" — Waldemar 5:22
12 XI Orchesterzwischenspiel 4:55
13 XII "Tauben von Gurre!" ("Lied der Waldtaube") — Waldtaube 11:31
Source: Victor 7524
Matrix: CVE 72621
CD 2 - 79:49

1-11 Gurrelieder (conclusion) 49:08
Part 2
1 XIII "Herrgott, weißt du, was du tatest — Waldemar 4:11
Part 3: Die wilde Jagd
2 XIV "Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert! — Waldemar 2:08
3 XV "Deckel des Sarges klappert — Bauer 4:09
4 XVI "Gegrüßt, o König — Waldemars Mannen 4:49
5 XVII "Mit Toves Stimme flüstert der Wald — Waldemar 6:11
6 XVIII "Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so'n Aal..." — Klaus-Narr 6:12
7 XIX "Du strenger Richter droben" — Waldemar 3:05
8 XX "Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht" — Waldemars Mannen 5:43
Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd
9 XXI Orchestervorspiel 2:53
10 XXII "Herr Gänsefuß, Frau Gänsekraut" — Sprecher 5:22
11 XXIII "Seht die Sonne" — Chor 4:25
Waldemar: Paul Althouse, tenor
Tove: Jeannette Vreeland, soprano
Die Waldtaube: Rose Bampton, contralto
Bauer: Abrasha Robofsky, bass
Klaus-Narr: Robert Betts, tenor
Sprecher: Benjamin de Loache
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Alexander Russell, conductor; Princeton Glee Club
Henry Gordon Thunder, conductor; Fortnightly Club
Bruce Carey, conductor; Mendelssohn Club
Philadelphia, Metropolitan Opera House, 11 April 1932*
Source: Victor set M-127 and unpublished alternate takes*
Matrix: CSHQ 71674-2-71698-2, 71712-1, 71713-1
Arkadi DUBENSKY (1890-1966)
12 The Raven 12:05
Benjamin de Loache, narrator
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 9-10 December 1932
Source: Victor 2000-2001
Matrix: BSHQ 69483/69486-1, re-recorded from original film matrices FRC 74825/6
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
13-16 Kammermusik No. 2, Op. 36, No. 1 (Concerto for Piano and Orchestra) 18:36
13 I Sehr lebhafte Achtel 3:22
14 II Sehr langsame Achtel 7:49
15 III Kleines Potpourri: Sehr lebhafte Viertel 1:36
16 IV Finale: Schnelle Viertel 5:49
Eunice Norton, piano
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 17 December 1932
Source: Unissued in 78 rpm
Matrix: CS 75147/75151-1, re-recorded from original film matrices FRC 74868/74869
CD 3 - 79:52

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908), Arranged by Stokowski
1 "Hunt and Storm Music," Act III, Prelude from The Maid of Pskov 4:20
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 9 April 1939
Source: Victor 17502
Matrix: CS 035418-1
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
2 Entr'acte from Act IV, Khovantshchina 3:58
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 12 October 1927
Source: Victor 6775
Matrix: CVE 27069-5
Modest MUSSORGSKY, arranged and edited by Stokowski
3-8 Boris Godunov: Symphonic Synthesis 21:31
3 "Outside the Novodievichy Monastery" 6:02
4 "Coronation of Boris" 4:47
5 "Monks chanting in the monastery of Choudov" 2:25
6 "Siege of Kazan" 1:38
7 "Outside the Church of St. Basil";"The Idiot foretells the fate of Russia";" The starving crowd asks Boris for bread" 3:25
8 "Death of Boris" 3:14
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 16 November 1936
Source: Victor set M-391
Matrix: CS 03108-1, 03109-1, 03110-1, 03111-1, 03112-1, 03113-1
Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956)
9-12 Symphony No. 3 in B minor, "Ilya Murometz" (abridged version) 46:15
9 I "Wandering Pilgrims: Ilya Murometz and Svyagotor the Mighty Hero" 12:20
10 II "Solovei the Robber" 16:32
11 III "At the Court of Prince Vladimir" 4:46
12 IV "The Heroic Deeds and Petrification of Ilya Murometz" 12:37
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 27 March 1940
Source: Victor set M-841
Matrix: CS 047801-1, 047802-1A, 047803-1, 047804-1, 047805-1A, 047806-1, 047807-2, 047808-1, 047809-1,047810-1, 047811-2
13 "Russian Sailors' Dance" from The Red Poppy 3:48
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Camden, Church Studio No. 2, 17 March 1934
Source: Victor 1675
Matrix: BS 82129-1
CD 4 - 73:32

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
1 Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune 9:09
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 10 March 1927
Source: Victor 6696
Matrix: CVE 21057-9, 21058-8
2 Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune 10:56
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 28 May 1940
Source: Unissued in 78 rpm format
Matrix: CS 047812-1, 047813-1
3-5 Nocturnes 26:35
3 I "Nuages" 8:51
4 II "Fêtes" 5:56
5 III "Sirènes" 11:48
Women's Chorus— Sirènes
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia, Academy of Music, 7 November & 12 December 1937, 9 April 1939
Source: Victor set M-630
Matrix: CS 014371-1, 014372-2, BS 104391-3, 014392-5, CS 035421-1, 035422-1, 035423-1
6-7 Danses sacrée et profane 10:25
6 "Danse sacrée" 5:13
7 "Danse profane" 5:12
Edna Phillips, harp
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Camden, Church Studio No. 1, 4 April 1931
Source: Victor set M-116
Matrix: CVE 69002-1, 69003-1, 69004-1
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
8-11 Rapsodie espagnole 16:27
8 "Prélude à la nuit" 4:14
9 "Malagueña" 1:52
10 "Habanera" 2:21
11 "Feria" 6:20
Leopold Stokowski, conductor; Philadelphia Orchestra
Camden, Church Studio No. 2, 17 March 1934
Source: Victor 8282-8283; Matrix: CS 82125-82128
ANDANTE 4978 [4 CDs 300.21]


No sooner have I reviewed Andante’s Stokowski-Wagner collection than the Philadelphia-Stokowski set arrives. Produced in accustomed Andante house style in book form, full notes in three languages and sumptuously reproduced photographs, this is a most intelligently compiled set of four CDs. It brings us the first ever CD inscription of the famed 1932 Gurrelieder (in fact Pearl were first. Ed.) and a rare Hindemith Kammermusik No.2 transferred from the original film matrices and not issued in 78 format. The Gliere makes a welcome appearance having been out of the catalogues for too long, even in this abridged version, and Dubensky’s Gothic Horror The Raven makes its second appearance recently – it was last on a Cala Stokowski-Philadelphia rarities set I reviewed on this site (more on that below). The set also concentrates on accustomed Russian and on French repertoire of which Stokowski was something of an unacknowledged master and this rounds out a set with some discrimination.

The first ever recording of Gurrelieder was an extraordinary feat of enterprise and management given the then parlous state of the economy. The acknowledged excellence of the performance has survived scrutiny down the years even if this document has not had the wide distribution it more than merits. Comparison with the RCA LPs, the last time I believe it was available domestically, reveals that Andante’s transfer is much more open and aerated; they are not afraid to leave a degree of surface noise, though judiciously tamed, for the benefits this brings of open sound and greater frequency response. Similarly I compared this transfer of The Raven to that, also by Ward Marston, on the Cala CD. There are some noticeable differences. In the case of the Cala there is slightly less surface noise, but also less full frequencies. The Andante has slightly tidied and cleaned up a few minor imperfections, such as a couple of intrusive clicks but the main difference is that the Cala seems to have added a degree of artificial echo to narrator Benjamin de Loache’s voice. The Andante hasn’t and I prefer Marston’s work here.

There are numerous highlights and it would be invidious to select from them but here goes. The Hindemith was challenging literature and it receives a decisively persuasive reading from pianist Eunice Norton, orchestra and conductor in a recording made originally on film matrices The Hunt and Storm music from Act III of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Maid of Pskov is passionate and thrilling; the bell ending is perhaps less than effective but Stokowski was fond of bells – note his use of them in the Two Liturgical Melodies also to be found on that Cala disc when he used them to bridge Veni Creator Spiritus and Veni Emmanuel. Then there’s the powerful sense of unease located in Mussorgsky’s Entr’acte from Khovantshchina Act V, the basses coagulating beneath the violins’ cantilena, the whole imparting a tremendous visceral sensitivity to the colour of the playing. The Philadelphia’s string portamenti – it can’t be overstressed how superbly and eloquently they play throughout – are wonderfully expressive. The symphonic synthesis of Boris Godunov includes the Choudov monastery monks’ chant, as his later synthesis was to do – now on Cala – but was then quite an uncommon move. Recording quality here is excellent, performances exceptional, Stokowski’s orientation decidedly theatrical even in this concert based context.

I suspect many will relish the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Stokowski’s Glière. Ilya Murometz was famously cut in this recording but the results are still dramatic, colourful, leonine and with effulgent brass calls – and that’s just the opening few pages. The Philadelphia cellos soar in the second movement, the solo violin and avian flutes intoxicating in their apposite generosity. If one can forgive the extensive cut in At the Court of Prince Vladimir – and in the historical context I think one should not, least because there’s nothing we can do about it now – we can still enjoy the heroically hieratic final movement and savour the Russian Sailors’ Dance from The Red Poppy as well, the thoughtful elegance of which, its élan shorn of vulgarity, is something special. His Debussy luxuriates in Wagnerian langour. Of the two versions of Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, the first from 1927 and the second from 1940, it’s the first that burns more brightly and more athletically. He had recorded Nuages and Fêtes – but not Sirènes – rather earlier with the Philadelphia than this complete performance of Nocturnes recorded in 1937 and 1939. Nuages is bathed in luxuriously veiled violin tone and graced by Tabuteau’s plangent oboe, its intensity conveyed with an emotive charge. Fêtes I’m not so sure about. It’s a little artful, a little prodded and toyed with but Sirènes is rather better. The remaining Danses sacrées et profanes features the excellent harpist Edna Phillips and Stokowski certainly mines Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole for all it vivacity and colour.

Recommendation seems superfluous given the foregoing comments. Times have never been better for Stokowski admirers and the most notable thing about this release – Gurrelieder – means that this is a mandatory purchase for his many admirers.

Jonathan Woolf

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